Veterans

July 12, 2013

Korean War veteran tells story of littlest survivors

Tags:
Walter T. Ham IV
Bellingham, Wash.

korean-vets1
The Korean War veteran who established the Korean War Children’s Memorial in Washington state will return to South Korea this July.

Invited to Korea by Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo, George F. Drake, Ph.D., will return with other Korean War veterans for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice.

While serving as a high-speed radio intercept operator, Drake volunteered to help orphans find homes during the Korean War. The 83-year-old former U.S. Army sergeant served in the 326th Communications Reconnaissance Company in Uijeongbu.

His Korean War experience stayed with him.†More than 10 years ago, following the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, Drake decided the war’s littlest survivors needed to be remembered along with the American service members who helped them.
korean-vets2
Drake launched a campaign to have the Korean War Children’s Memorial built in the park near his house in Bellingham, Wash.

Drake has been back to South Korea five times since the war, and he donated a Korean War Children’s Memorial that stands at Imjingak, just south of the border with North Korea.

The former Bellingham city council member and retired sociology professor has diligently chronicled the efforts of U.S. service members to help orphans in Korea during the brutal three-year war. His journey has taken him from his Washington state home to the archives of Pacific Stars & Stripes in Tokyo, and to the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

According to Drake, U.S. service members helped more than 10,000 children and sustained over 53,000 in more than 400 orphanages, many of which they either built or repaired. Drake said U.S. troops also donated more than $2 million from the less than $100 per month that most of them earned, and brought in thousands of tons of aid from the United States for the children and their care givers.
korean-vets3
On July 27, Korean War veterans from across the United States will mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice agreement that brought major combat operations to a halt on the Korean Peninsula.

While the armistice is has never been replaced with a peace treaty, the ceasefire has enabled South Korea’s rise from abject poverty to the world’s 13th largest economy, in 60 years.

Drake said the most rewarding experience of his efforts to tell the story of Korean War orphans was a letter from one of the children he helped at an orphanage named Manassas Manor after company commander Capt. John Consolvo’s hometown in Virginia.

“My name is Eddie Cho and I am one of your Manassas orphans,” Cho wrote to Drake. “I was about four years old when the Korean War broke out. I remember my father being taken captive by the North Koreans and my mother being so sick and eventually dying of the black plague while trying to escape, on foot, from Seoul.”

“I have often thought of the American Soldiers from the 326th Communication Reconnaissance Company who took care of us at the Manassas Manor orphanage,” wrote Cho. “I had always wished that I could have known their names and addresses so that I could have expressed my gratefulness.”

“So many wonderful memories,” Cho wrote, “We were kings of the world! You included us in each and every recreational activity, such as games and movies, with the spare time you had. I cherish and thank you for those precious memories you provided for us at the Manassas orphanage.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

VA announces new grants to help end veterans homelessness

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald announced Aug. 11 the award of approximately $300 million in grants that will help approximately 115,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. The grants will be distributed to 301 community agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Under the...
 
 

VA funds SoCal agencies in battle to end homelessness

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald announced Aug. 11 the award of $23.1 million in homeless prevention grants to counties in Southern California. The grants will serve approximately 4,400 homeless and at-risk Veteran families as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. This award will serve Veteran families associated with 17 different...
 
 
DOD photograph by EJ Hersom

Obama signs act to give VA new money, authorities

DOD photograph by EJ Hersom President Barack Obama signs the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act into law at Fort Belvoir, Va., Aug. 7, 2014. President Barack Obama today signed into ...
 

 

Remains of airmen missing since WWII accounted for

The remains of two missing airmen have been accounted for 70 years after they disappeared when their plane went down over Papua New Guinea during World War II, U.S. military officials said. The remains of 1st Lts. William Bernier and Bryant Poulsen were identified through DNA and other evidence collected from the crash site in...
 
 

Remains of U.S. soldier killed in ’53 identified

Lawrence Jock’s surviving relatives in northern New York knew next to nothing about the Army combat veteran who was declared missing in action at the end of the Korean War more than 60 years ago. Now that his remains have been identified and will be brought back to the North Country for burial, his relatives...
 
 
Army photograph by Lisa Ferdinando

President awards Medal of Honor to former Army staff sergeant

Army photograph by Lisa Ferdinando President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts at the White House, July 21, 2014. Pitts received the nation’s highest military honor for his action...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>